The interpretations of Pompeii's ubiquitous penises are silly: symbols of hospitality or abundance. Whatever they were, there were more depictions of phalluses in Pompeii than Chinese restaurants in Chinatown. If as some say, they indicate a phallo-centric society, it was a society that often found the erect penis ridiculous, amusing, grotesque. On a mosaic in an entryway to the baths of a grand villa a penis winks from under a toga.
When the Monica and Bill story broke, my neighbor shouted, "How do I explain that to my kids?" The residents of Pompeii might have difficulty explaining some things to their children, but not the male anatomy or the irrepressible vigor of the body.
Close by the statues and frescos of the Lares, the guardian spirits of the household (second picture above left) clothed and handsome, were the grotesque figures of fun. Abundant? Certainly. They were everywhere.